Please turn on javascript in your browser to play chess.
Posers and Puzzles

Posers and Puzzles

  1. Standard member talzamir
    Art, not a Toil
    12 May '12 08:47
    A wealthy Roman is about to die and leaves a will when his wife is pregnant. According to the will, if the Roman will have a son, the son is to get 2/3 of the inheritance and the wife 1/3, and if the child will be a girl, the wife gets 2/3 and the daughter 1/3. As it happens, the Roman dies before childbirth, and as the day comes, his widow gets twins, one boy and one girl.

    What is the way to divide the inheritance that best reflects the intents of the deceased?
  2. 12 May '12 14:25
    Originally posted by talzamir
    A wealthy Roman is about to die and leaves a will when his wife is pregnant. According to the will, if the Roman will have a son, the son is to get 2/3 of the inheritance and the wife 1/3, and if the child will be a girl, the wife gets 2/3 and the daughter 1/3. As it happens, the Roman dies before childbirth, and as the day comes, his widow gets twins, one ...[text shortened]... rl.

    What is the way to divide the inheritance that best reflects the intents of the deceased?
    That depends very much on why and how he wanted his inheritance divided like this. There are at least two reasonable views:

    - Any male heir must control a majority of 2/3 of his estate.
    In this case, the boy gets 2/3, and the females should probably divide the remaining 1/3 according to the other division, i.e., 2/3*1/3=2/9 to the mother, 1/9 to the girl.

    - The mother should inherit twice as much as any daughter, and a son twice as much as the mother. In this case, 1/7 for the girl, 2/7 for the mother, 4/7 for the son adds up to 7/7.

    The latter is probably the solution a modern maths teacher expects his pupils to give; the former is more likely to accord with old Roman sentiments, which considered woman to be more or less the property of their husbands. In fact, a real old Roman would probably give 1/1 to his son, and nothing to his wife.

    Richard
  3. 13 May '12 13:57
    its only fair to everyone gets one third each
  4. Subscriber Ponderable
    chemist
    13 May '12 16:26
    Originally posted by talzamir
    A wealthy Roman is about to die and leaves a will when his wife is pregnant. According to the will, if the Roman will have a son, the son is to get 2/3 of the inheritance and the wife 1/3, and if the child will be a girl, the wife gets 2/3 and the daughter 1/3. As it happens, the Roman dies before childbirth, and as the day comes, his widow gets twins, one ...[text shortened]... rl.

    What is the way to divide the inheritance that best reflects the intents of the deceased?
    The question is quite constructed, since the dead man hasn't stated a few things:

    * should the cost for bringing up the child (ren) be covered by their share or by the mothers share?
    * The expected infancy mortality would make it at least not unlikely that the child(ren)n won't live until aduklthood what is to become of their share?
    * Is the expecting mother to remarry, what will become of "her" and the childrens part?
    * Who will look after the inheristance of the child(ren)? If it is good roman coin no problem, but how about investments?

    Especially in ancient rome there would be the question of a caretaker for the left behind family. Life wasn't easy for a single mom.
  5. Subscriber Kewpie
    since 1-Feb-07
    15 May '12 05:29
    I'd take the approach that the estate should be split in two, and each half calculated according to the gender of the child.
    So: (a) wife gets 1/6, son gets 2/6 of the total estate; (b) wife gets 2/6, daughter gets 1/6 of the total estate.

    In total, wife gets one-half, son gets one-third, daughter gets one-sixth.

    A bit rough on the daughter, but then as someone else said girls drew the short straw. The wife would spend most of her share on the children anyway, so perhaps she could redress the balance somewhat.
  6. 15 May '12 15:50
    Originally posted by talzamir
    A wealthy Roman is about to die and leaves a will when his wife is pregnant. According to the will, if the Roman will have a son, the son is to get 2/3 of the inheritance and the wife 1/3, and if the child will be a girl, the wife gets 2/3 and the daughter 1/3. As it happens, the Roman dies before childbirth, and as the day comes, his widow gets twins, one ...[text shortened]... rl.

    What is the way to divide the inheritance that best reflects the intents of the deceased?
    When in Rome...

    According to my research, Roman law did not favor the son. I propose that the inheritance "inheres" as soon as the first born is born. They being male/female would be fraternal twins, and I doubt embryos splitting would matter anyway, under Roman law. There is no difference whether the second born is 1 minute or 1 year younger. It is no more fair or unfair this way, but that is not the objective, it is the deceased's wishes that are to be enforced here. If he wanted to allow for this possibility, he had his chance.
  7. 15 May '12 21:15
    Possibly a trick question hiding in the wording.
    Why does it have to be a Roman?

    There must be some twist in Roman Law that if the father dies without
    leaving a will. (in this case the circumstance are not covered) then the children
    inherit the lot. So it's a 50-50 split between son and daughter.

    Perhaps even a law that states you cannot leave anything in a will
    to anyone who is not yet born.

    Or the fact they are Roman twins and this has some significance due to
    the founding of Rome by the twins Romulus and Remus.

    Were Roman twins classed as sacred or a curse?
    Were there special rules concerning Roman Twins.
    (ie. one had to be put to death/sold into slavery.)
    I know the Romans practised dumping or selling off their children.
  8. 18 May '12 04:19
    Well, the wife did have free food and a roof over her head while the guy was alive, so she should be thankful.
  9. 18 May '12 17:08
    Originally posted by CLL53
    Well, the wife did have free food and a roof over her head while the guy was alive, so she should be thankful.
    For which she amply compensated the old bugger -- in fact that's how he died.
  10. Standard member talzamir
    Art, not a Toil
    19 May '12 19:11
    Clearly a puzzle that doesn't easily lead to just one answer. Adding a few -

    * the Roman intended that his estate be divided equally between himself and his living family members, one share each - and that his share goes to his male heir, if there is one, and if not, to his wife. So with so it would be 50% son, 25% wife, 25% daughter.

    * the Roman wanted his wife to have no less than a third of the inheritance, and as for the rest, divide it evenly among male family members (if any) or female (if there are no males). so 2/3 to the son, 1/3 to the wife, nothing to the daughter.

    * or, as someone suggested.. the girls split it evenly, the son dies at birth.
  11. 27 May '12 18:14 / 1 edit
    Originally posted by talzamir
    Clearly a puzzle that doesn't easily lead to just one answer. Adding a few -

    * the Roman intended that his estate be divided equally between himself and his living family members, one share each - and that his share goes to his male heir, if there is one, and if not, to his wife. So with so it would be 50% son, 25% wife, 25% daughter.

    * the Roman wan ...[text shortened]... the daughter.

    * or, as someone suggested.. the girls split it evenly, the son dies at birth.
    I would attack it like this.

    Clearly he intended the son to get twice as much as the wife

    And he intended the daughter to get half as much as the wife

    Now he has both, we have 3 equations:

    S = 2W
    W = 2D
    S + W + D = 1 (whole inheritance is split)

    so

    2W + W + W/2 = 1

    7W/2 = 1

    W = 2/7
    S = 4/7
    D = 1/7
  12. Subscriber AThousandYoung
    It's about respect
    27 May '12 20:34
    Originally posted by talzamir
    A wealthy Roman is about to die and leaves a will when his wife is pregnant. According to the will, if the Roman will have a son, the son is to get 2/3 of the inheritance and the wife 1/3, and if the child will be a girl, the wife gets 2/3 and the daughter 1/3. As it happens, the Roman dies before childbirth, and as the day comes, his widow gets twins, one ...[text shortened]... rl.

    What is the way to divide the inheritance that best reflects the intents of the deceased?
    Son gets 2/3 x 1/2 = 1/3.
    Daughter gets 1/3 x 1/2 = 1/6.
    Wife gets 2/3 x 1/2 + 1/3 x 1/2 = 1/2.
  13. Subscriber Kewpie
    since 1-Feb-07
    29 May '12 23:31
    Originally posted by AThousandYoung
    Son gets 2/3 x 1/2 = 1/3.
    Daughter gets 1/3 x 1/2 = 1/6.
    Wife gets 2/3 x 1/2 + 1/3 x 1/2 = 1/2.
    That's what I said, yours just looks more mathematical.
  14. 03 Jun '12 18:10
    Originally posted by talzamir
    A wealthy Roman is about to die and leaves a will when his wife is pregnant. According to the will, if the Roman will have a son, the son is to get 2/3 of the inheritance and the wife 1/3, and if the child will be a girl, the wife gets 2/3 and the daughter 1/3. As it happens, the Roman dies before childbirth, and as the day comes, his widow gets twins, one ...[text shortened]... rl.

    What is the way to divide the inheritance that best reflects the intents of the deceased?
    you said:
    "if the Roman will have a son, the son is to get 2/3 and the wife 1/3".

    he never has a son because he is dead before the birth, so this condition is not met.

    on the other hand:
    "if the child will be a girl the wife gets 2/3 and the daugther 1/3"

    which is true, because the child is a girl no matter if he is there or not.

    so the division should be 2/3 for the wife and 1/3 for the daughter.